What’s your story?

We all have our ways of supporting the environment, of being active, of eating and being healthy, of acting locally, etc. I would love for you to share your story! So please feel free to leave a comment below or email me at jenny.p@mac.com and I’ll post it in a blog. Thanks!

Dani wrote about getting her office’s cleaning crew on board with recycling:

When our office had to move locations, we were all really relieved to see blue recycling bins in the office. We have a cleaning crew that comes in twice a week to remove trash. One night I stayed late working and for the first time witnessed the cleaning crew doing their sweep through our place. I totally sat their while they first dumped our trash into their bigger trash can, and then proceeded to dump all the contents of our blue bins into the same trash can. My heart sank. So, I first investigated the basement to check the levels of recycling versus trash. Then I told my boss, who then called up the building manager, who then gave a little lesson to the cleaning crew. I felt bad to scold the cleaners, but I think they honestly didn’t even realize what the difference was. Since then, I’ve witnessed them dividing up our waste and also have seen a huge improvement in recycling levels down in the basement where all offices’ stuff is dumped.
Lesson learned? Make sure the cycle is linked all down the line!

Byron told us how his eco-friendly actions encouraged others to follow suite in his office:

…Starting to recycle gets other people on board quickly. At my old job, I double-siding everything I printed (it took a while for people to actually catch on…), recycle all paper (not just ‘confidential’), and brought in silverware to each lunch with. It turned into a lot more people bringing their own cups, lunches, recycling much more and even led to one person to walk around the two story office at the end of the day turning off various lights. It works, and it’s rewarding to push other people into a life of awareness.

“Suzn” asked about reusing  old “scraps” for artistic purposes:

How would you go about starting a nonprofit org. that’s a hybrid between environmental and arts? I’m talking about reuse — specifically, a creative reuse center. I recently learned about these wonderful places that turn trash into treasure by collecting materials that would ordinarily be discarded, and offering them for sale at very, very low prices. Sometimes it’s samples from printers, designers, and manufacturers, or clean waste materials, industrial discards or byproducts. Paper, fabric, wallpaper samples, plastic things, leftover framing materials, mill ends, scraps. Anything that’s clean and could be used for arts and crafts. I like to call it “reusables.”

A lot of other cities have reuse centers. Here are a few:
• SCRAP – ScroungersCenterfor Reuseable Art Parts, San Francisco: http://www.scrap-sf.org/
• EastBayDepot for Creative Reuse, Oakland, CA: http://www.east-bay-depot.org/
• The Scrap Exchange, Durham, NC: http://www.scrapexchange.org/
• SCRAP – School & Community Reuse Action Project, Portland, OR: http://scrapaction.org/

CobbCountyhas something similar called “Teacher’s Supply Store.” The items are offered at no charge (free!!) but as the name implies, it’s only open to teachers and home-schoolers, and it’s not open all of the time. [Similar to Materials for the Arts in New York: http://www.mfta.org/.%5D I’m looking to start a reuse center that’s open to the public, 6 days a week.

Besides featuring a variety of materials for art, the reuse stores also offer arts & crafts workshops that incorporate education about recycling and reusing – as in, “Look what you can make with this stuff instead of throwing it away!” People have fun, and less stuff goes into the landfills.

I’m running into 2 obstacles here. 1: Location. Space is expensive. I need to find a commercial property owner to donate space to this nonprofit: retail, workshop, and possibly warehouse space. 2: Tax-exempt status – “501(c)(3)” – this can take a while, so if we’re going to offer donors a tax deduction NOW, we need to team up with an existing nonprofit that already has tax-exempt status.

Any suggestions?

9 Responses to “What’s your story?”
  1. Polly says:

    Being a low impact consumer has always been a personal and family goal, but now that my daughter is here, I am doubly committed to preservation and modeling sustainable practices. My husband and I garden, compost via our chickens, use good old fashioned black gold fertilizer (our horse’s poop), recycle, take care with power use, and try to buy relatively locally. We were profoundly impacted by Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in 2007 and haven’t looked back.
    One of the coolest feelings I have had as a mother (so far) is feeding my daughter food grown in our garden–I know each bite that I put in her mouth has been harvested and grown sustainably. (I won’t say anything about fair labor practices!)
    In addition, I volunteer with Heifer Project International, a community development NGO that functions as the highest and best example of environmentally sound, life changing hope. Check them out at http://www.heifer.org

  2. Helping the construction industry go green.

    Takeoff Live, LLC is a construction-industry software provider with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 2006 by construction-industry professionals, Takeoff Live’s goal is to help customers increase bid-win rates through the use of elegantly simple and affordable takeoff and estimating software.

    Takeoff Live’s software frees estimators from the tedious task of creating takeoffs on paper plans and trying to calculate accurate results for complicated figures with a calculator. As an emerging industry leader, Takeoff Live applications are in use by estimators in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and around the world. The Company’s target market includes the more than 857,000 residential and 530,000 non-residential construction firms in the U.S., as well as internationally, especially small-to-midsize firms that can benefit from the increased efficiency and cost-effectiveness of this software. The Company will also market heavily to college architecture and construction management departments across the country, helping Takeoff Live become a standard in the industry. It is already in use at three colleges.

    Conservatively, the industry in the US prints more than 100 million plan print pages per year. This consumes approximately 47,000 trees per year.

  3. BIG EVENT!!!!!

    I just wanted to get this information out about our brand spanking new community garden at ! Thanks to the participation of Deaklb County, Scott’s Mracle Grow, Dekalb Beautiful, Home Depot, and a whole lotta’ toil and sweat from our neighborhood, we have developed what hopefully will be a model for other communities.

    Our “grand opening” will be May 4 and it promises to be a huge event with press coverage, sponsor tents (Home Depot and Scotts).

    Check out this pictorial of our progress one picture at a time. It’s a great testimonial to what a group of determined and united individuals can accomplish!



  4. Patty says:

    We are the very proud owners of a wonderful green company in Georgia. We specialize in helping Atlanta families go green and sustain our world with green technology/renewable energy. We’ve partnered up with alot a industry trades to allow families to green at thier own pace and we even help with filiing the tax credit papers. Both my husband and I are eco-friendly to this world and we are so very proud to help out Atlantans and thier families.

  5. JC Van Liere says:

    I am the proud owner of Enviro Auto Care, a Waterless Car Wash company thats Sponsored by Nike. We have saved over 600,000 gallons of water since April of 2008. Did you know that an average traditional water-expending car wash done in your driveway can waste upwards to 100 gallons of water? Not to mention the harmful products and soaps that seep into our drains! The products we use are truly GREEN, being V.O.C. compliant, biodegradable, organic, and anti-fungal. We specialize in servicing fleet vehicles, offering a GUARANTEED better wash than the water wasters (our base wash includes 2 waxes) and often times saving the company money from their current over priced service providers, water bills, payroll from having an employee drive the vehicles to a wash, and/or gas consumption to and from said places. With waterless technology, we are able to wash any vehicle, ANYWHERE without having to move it and without leaving a mess all over the ground. In a nutshell, my company is conserving Earths most precious resource, one vehicle at a time. 🙂

    I launched the business in 2008 after working in the hospitality industry for 7 years. We saw a need for a car wash at the hotel I was managing at but were met with nothing but dead ends since Atlanta was in a drought period. Via Google, I discovered waterless car wash products that were popular throughout Europe and Australia that work through a process called emulsification. I was skeptical, made a few phone calls, tested a few products and was very impressed with one companies products in particular. Many companies claimed to be “green” but I found that only one company had an EPA approval. Also, being a member of the Georgia Army National Guard I was pleased to find that this company was owned by a former member of the US Military and that all the products were made in the USA. The rest is history!

  6. John Aikman says:

    Home Grown Cow – Connecting Farnms with Consuners who care where their meat and poultry come from:

    My name is John Aikman I recently started a company called Home Grown Cow which, despite its name, is designed to promote the products and farms of independent livestock and poultry farmers of all kinds. While I lived outside Marietta, GA and worked in Atlanta for several years, I now live in Wisconsin, but Home Grown Cow is designed to help smaller farms all over the country.

    We only just launched our site in beta last week, but have been thrilled at the positive response from the ag community, and farms have already begun to sign up. While the site is still a work in progress and not yet open for selling, we are actively seeking farms to participate. It costs nothing to list your farm, we only charge a small service fee if and when you make a sale. We welcome all farming practices as our goal is to offer maximum choice to consumers, but we do think that the majority of them will be those who “lean towards green”. Our service includes payment processing (credit card), order conveyance and SEO/SEM marketing. We are also in the process of setting up a shipping solution so all the farm has to do is print a label that is sent to them and stick it on the box. We expect to go live to consumers before the end of this month.

    Please feel free to check us out at http://www.homegrowncow.com/?src=ourgreenatlanta and by all means contact me if you have any questions.



  7. Michael Herrington says:

    I don’t live in your city, but I do travel through it many times. And I was wondering-since Westside park is scheduled to be the largest park in Atlanta (351 acres), wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Georgia Power Co would make a goodwill gesture and donate the land it currently runs it’s power lines through the city on the proposed park’s southern boundary. Why not bury the power lines or reroute them through another part of the city as in Washington, DC. They (Power Lines) always seem to mar the natural beauty of Atlanta, and by burying them, you add even more greenspace to the city thereby enlarging the park even more! I think that would help improve the surrounding neighborhoods and increase land values by having a larger marquee park than a mere 351 acres. Why not 400, or 500 acres!!! To me that would be like icing on the cake. Here in Chicago, our big urban parks start out at 500 acres. To me a park that size would greatly benefit the entire city of Atlanta by ensuring that the park resources and activities are not degraded or overused by the multitudes of people that will surely use such a large urban expanse of parkland. I still wish the city success in the building of this remarkable green gem and the gems all along the entire beltline. Good Luck and Godspeed…Michael Herrington.

  8. What a wonderful blog! I’m trying to get information out to Decatur and East Atlanta about a new “green” business. It is called Compost Pick-up, and we compost for the business owner and homeowner. We deliver clean bins with compostable bags, pick the bags and bins up weekly or for restaurants and grocery stores daily. We leave a clean bin. After customers have been with us for 6-9 months, we return compost and worm castings to them. We’re just starting out, and we need to educate the community about this, so we can get some customers and make our business work? Read about our quest on thecompostpickup.com or email us at compostpickup@yahoo.com

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